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The beach is probably the most therapeutic getaway nature has to offer. The heat of the sun combined with the coolness of the water provides great therapy to help relieve stiff muscles and  joint pain. Not only is going to the beach therapeutic for your physical body, but it is also helpful for your mental wellbeing too.

 

There are a few reasons why going to the beach can help with your mental health. The sounds of waves crashing on the shore can help change brain wave activity, putting the brain into a mild meditative state. This state can help improve brain function, and put us in a better mood. This effect can last for hours after leaving the beach, which is probably why you feel relaxed hours after leaving.  

 

Different colours can elicit different emotional, psychological and physical responses from our bodies. This is the reason why stop signs are red, and marketing material is usually blue. The color blue can have a calming effect on the body, and has been shown to reduce stress. Being surrounded by blue at the beach is another way this escape can have a calming effect on the body. 

 

The soles of our feet have a high density of neural receptors, which is why walking on sand can be very stimulating. The small particles of sand can also massage the feet effectively, while proving a great exfoliation. This sensory stimulation can help ease pain, and improve our mood. A side note: the reason we have so many receptors on the bottom of our feet is to help the body manage balance and locomotion. 

 

To enjoy the beach, it is recommended to turn off your phone, close your eyes and focus on your surroundings. Try to be mindful of the sounds around you,  the warmth of the sun and the feeling of sand on your feet. These sensations will help relax your mind and put your mind in a mild meditative state. 

 

To help get you started on your next Ontario beach getaway, here a few locations  I would recommend:

 

  1. Long Point Provincial Park (146km, 2 hour drive):  This beach is located on Lake Erie. With a long shoreline and powdery sands, this beach is great for families with children. It’s important to note that there are no lifeguards are on duty and there are no shops or stores nearby so be prepared to bring your own food and drinks. 
  2. Crystal Beach ( 126km, 1.25 hour drive): This beach is located close to Fort Erie. The beach is quite nice, and family friendly, however due to its smaller size it can get crowded during busier times. Shops and restaurants are located nearby.
  3. Grand Bend (181km, 2 hour drive): If you are into parasailing and jet-skiing this is the beach for you. Located on Lake Huron, this beach offers incredible waters with great waves. The shores can be a little steep with a pebble beach, which may not be idea for families with younger kids. There is a splash pad and many shops and restaurants nearby. 
  4. Lake Kelso (23.5km, 20 mins):  This is a great getaway conveniently located in Milton. There are two beach areas, with one located down a long set of stairs. Kayaks and canoes are available to rent during the summer months. Currently the beach is closed due to Covid19.

I hope this article will motivate you to explore the beautiful beaches Ontario has to offer. Do let us know about your experience my emailing us at clinic@muscleandjoint.ca

Travel safe!

Dr Malik

 

Sources:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1353829213000816

 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1353829213000816

 

https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/what-beach-does-your-brain-ncna787231

 

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